NEWS

Pickton inquiry cleared of sexual harassment

06/13/2012 05:09 EDT | Updated 08/13/2012 05:12 EDT

The commission conducting a public inquiry into the Robert Pickton case has been cleared of sexual harassment after an independent investigation.

The two-month investigation was launched in April after anonymous allegations were made in a National Post story against some staff at the office of the ongoing inquiry.

Commission staff were accused of making derogatory comments about other staff and sex workers testifying at the hearings into why police failed to catch a serial killer.

As a result of the allegations, executive director John Boddie took paid leave and Commissioner Wally Oppal appointed lawyers Delayne Sartison and Peter Gall to look into the claims.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Gall said the investigation found no evidence of a breach of the Human Rights Codeby commission managers or senior staff, including Boddie.

"Mr Boddie’s leave of absence should in no way be interpreted as anything except a necessary precaution and it does not reflect on his personal or professional integrity," said Gall.

'Stressful workplace'

Gall confirmed Boddie will return to the commission in his role as executive director and praised commission staff for their commitment in a "stressful and demanding" workplace.

"It is clear that everyone involved in the process wants to help make sure that the horrific circumstances which confronted the missing and murdered women and their families can never happen again," he said.

The inquiry is examining why Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to catch Robert Pickton, a serial killer who preyed on sex workers from the city's impoverished Downtown Eastside in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Pickton was eventually arrested in 2002, when RCMP officers executing an unrelated warrant for illegal firearms stumbled upon the belongings and remains of missing women on his farm in nearby Port Coquitlam.

In 2007, he was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.

In all, the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his property, though he once bragged to an undercover police officer that he murdered 49 women.

MORE:cbcNews